By Zanna Shapiro
Following the most recent mass shooting at a school in Florida, we must admit our failure as a society and take measures to prevent more lives from being lost.
Father Brian Jordan, Director of Campus Ministry at St. Francis College, says that he believes in the Second Amendment, but that the amendment needs to be amended.
He recognizes guns in a just war against an unjust aggressor, or when police are trying to apprehend unrepentant murderers.
However, he says “as Franciscans, we follow in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, who condemned all forms of violence and asked us to be peace makers, not war makers.”
Father Brian has been an ordained priest for thirty five years, and has witnessed the burial of gun victims of all ages.
“I find no justification in the murder of innocent people.”
Father Brian does not oppose the purchase of guns, he opposes the notion that anyone can purchase a gun.
He is not against the use of firearms, but strongly against the abuse of firearms, and the difference is monumental.
Father Brian is an advocate for stricter gun laws.
In fact, he has voiced his concerns, testified in legislature, and written to members of congress.
“There are background checks to get a driver’s license, background checks to apply for a loan, background checks when looking at co-ops, purchasing property … but yet there are insufficient background checks on those who can purchase guns.
“There need to be background checks, and I demand mental health tests for every person from here on in.
“Those who want to purchase a gun should be examined by a reputable mental health professional who can pick up patterns of maladaptive behavior, and there should be a database of rejections.”
However, it’s not just a mental health issue.
Americans should be asking themselves: why are we the only industrialized nation in the world with such a high level of gun violence?
We should learn from other countries and implement stricter gun laws.
Furthermore, social media, the internet, video games, and movie scenes are contributing factors of gun violence.
Father Brian encourages parents to monitor the amount of acts of violence their children are exposed to.
“In all of the studies, perpetrators who engage in gun violence on a massive level – from Sandy Hook to Columbine to Las Vegas – all of the individuals admitted to watching gun violence in video games.”
This cannot be ignored.
Even further, religious communities should share the beliefs of traditions calling for peace and reconciliation.
From an interfaith perspective, the United States of America is still a religious nation; America has the highest rate of religious attendance in houses of worship.
Therefore, communities must come together and demand stricter gun laws.
Father Brian adds: “Don’t wait for a coffin to enter your house of worship to make a statement – that’s reactive.
“I humbly request communities to be proactive and preach against gun violence before it happens again.”